Last week, Netflix received public backlash for its planned premiere of the French film Cuties. The promotional poster for the film showed underage girls posing seductively in risqué outfits.
Netflix's description of the film read, "Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions." The actress playing the role of Amy is a real 11-year-old child.
The movie received a Netflix rating of "MA" (Mature Audiences) while its theatrical release earned an NC-17 rating. The public rightly wanted to know how a movie about twerking 11-year-olds was made for adult audiences. #Netflixpedophilia soon began trending on twitter.
Netflix has altered their promotional materials for the film since the outcry, removing the original sexed-up poster and changing the film description from twerking to "a free-spirited dance crew." This does not change the fact that the film is inherently troubling. Netflix tried to cover for its planned release by pointing out that Cuties won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. But don't forget, Sundance was founded by a man charged with molesting a 10-year-old girl multiple times.
Netflix has had a problem with pedophiliac programming for years. Back in 2018, Netflix premiered an Argentinian film called Desire that included a scene of child pornography involving girls under the age of 10. At the time, the news site PJ Media reported the film to the FBI and Department of Justice. The film included a depiction of a child masturbating.
Later that same year, Netflix streamed the Italian series Baby glorifying 15-year-old prostitutes in Rome. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) decried the premiere, stating in a letter to Netflix: “This show glamorizes sexual abuse and trivializes the experience of countless underage women and men who have suffered through sex trafficking.”
But it is not just the international films Netflix streams that are problematic. Its original programming sexualizes minors, grooms children, places underage actors in inappropriate sexual scenarios, and shows animated child porn.
Take, for example, the RuPaul dramedy AJ and the Queen which premiered in January of 2020. The show involves ten-year-old A.J. (Izzy G.), a girl dressed like a boy, who accompanies RuPaul to drag shows all over the country. One of the queens refers to little AJ as a "top," a sexual term in LGBT culture. In one episode, A.J. puts on RuPaul's giant fake breasts and lays on her back in the pool as RuPaul watches. In front of the girl, adults discuss someone being slipped a roofie. The offensive sexual content involving the child actor in this show is too much to list. Luckily, AJ and the Queen was canceled after just one season.
And what about Big Mouth? It is a Netflix cartoon that depicts and promotes sexual exploitation among pre-teens. Big Mouth is so blatant in its exploitation that dialogue in the first season between "the Hormone Monster" and the child characters actually says the quiet part out loud. As Newsbusters reported in 2017:
"The Hormone Monster says, 'Maybe one day you’ll look back on this time fondly. And perhaps even make something beautiful out of it.' Andrew replies, 'What? Like a show about a bunch of kids masturbating?' Nick chimes in, 'Isn’t that basically just like child pornography?' The Monster responds, 'Holy shit. I hope not. I mean, maybe if it’s animated, we can get away with it.' Then he turns to the camera and says, 'Right?'"
Only three seasons have aired and yet Netflix has already renewed Big Mouth through season 6.
Netflix flaunts the fact that it gets around child protection laws through animation. As Newsbusters wrote of the Netflix cartoon F is for Family in 2018, "Ideally, the show should be titled F is for FBI since its creators should be investigated for their graphic depiction of animated child porn."
"It’s beyond disturbing to watch a depiction of an extremely young child excitedly moaning and masturbating to his favorite cartoon (complete with disgusting sound effects), as well as a pre-pubescent boy getting an erection in a swimming pool as he stares at his equally young love interest who later tells him to, 'suck my tongue.'"
The series, created by comedian Bill Burr, has run 4 seasons with no word yet about a fifth.
I have not even covered the graphic scene of a boy being sodomized with a broom handle in 13 Reasons Why, a show marketed to a high school audience, or Netflix's more recent series Teenage Bounty Hunters. Originally titled Slutty Teenage Bounty Hunters, the teen dramedy begins with a scene of a 16-year-old character losing her virginity while quoting Scripture. It also includes a scene where the middle-aged male bounty hunter takes the 16-year-old characters to a strip club. The girls are impressed by the strippers and happily imitate their moves.
Netflix consistently pushes troubling content that sexualizes minors. Cuties only got public attention because the streaming service was brazen enough to display the pedophilia in their promotional materials. That only shows how much the company believes they do not have to worry about consequences.
No doubt Netflix hopes this latest controversy will blow over and everybody will forget about the poster. But the problem is not one poster. It is a persistent culture of corporate pedophilia.
It is long past time for Netflix to face consequences for its consistently disturbing content that sexualizes minors. Keep the pressure going and tell anyone you know to cancel Netflix.